Fire Employment


Firefighting is a great way to start a career with the federal government. It provides an entry level job in the government, which allows you to get to know what opportunities are available. A large majority of BLM resource and fire managers--those who make the decisions at the local, state and national levels--began their careers as wildland firefighters. Firefighters from our program have gone on to work in law enforcement, recreation, resource management, and city fire departments.

Fighting fire is a demanding job and not for everyone. The fire season in southeast Idaho typically begins in the middle of June and lasts until the end of October, though extreme seasons can begin earlier and last later. Firefighters are away from their families and friends for extended periods of time. Once you become a wildland firefighter, you may be sent to a wildfire anywhere in the United States at any time, day or night, during the fire season for 14 to 21 days. Wildland firefighters spend the majority of their time in the outdoors, working during the day and sleeping in tents at night, or vice-versa. Wildfires burn anywhere that fuel is present so firefighters are often sent to very remote, beautiful areas of Idaho and the United States. Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service firefighters also help with other natural disasters and are sent to other areas when their services are needed, such as Hurricanes Rita and Katrina.

Furthermore, as an initial attack firefighter you are expected to be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You may not be able to get time off for personal functions or recreation during busy times of the season. You may be called at 3:00 AM to go on a fire assignment. Mandatory days off will be available but may only come once every two weeks. The work is demanding, both physically and mentally. Dirt, smoke, heat, cold, and lack of sleep are common working conditions. Your physical fitness is directly related to your safety and performance on the fire line. With that in mind, we ask all new firefighters to show up for work in good physical condition. The minimum physical requirement is the ability to pass the arduous pack test. This is carrying a 45-pound pack for three miles in 45 minutes. Many of our fires can only be accessed on foot. Expect a lot of hiking over uneven ground and steep terrain. Your engine crew will run or hike daily to ensure good physical fitness.

You will work with a wide range of personalities, people from different backgrounds, and people with different views on life than yours. You will have to adjust to this and get along with people in close living quarters and long stressful hours.

Fire occurrence data for all causes was examined for the years 1997-2007. During this period, the area averaged 165 fire starts per year, which burned an annual average of 107,672 acres. This equates to an average of 651 acres per fire. Approximately 91% of the fire starts occur between the months of June and September. During this period, approximately 62% of the fire starts were caused by lightning and 38% were caused by humans. Of the human starts; miscellaneous fires accounted for 29% which included fire for which there are no classification causes such as; power lines. Campfires were 24% of the human starts, equipment 17%, arson fire starts accounted for 11% of the human fire starts, Debris fires 10% and the remaining Smoking, Railroad and Children account for 3% each. Fire problems and target groups were identified for the planning area.

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U.S. Bureau of Land Management / Idaho Falls District Office / 1405 Hollipark Drive / Idaho Falls, Idaho 83401
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